National Day of Prayer
Today, May 4, is the National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May.
The theme this year is For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear Us… Forgive Us…Heal Us! Taken from Daniel 9:19, which says, “O Lord, Listen! O Lord, Forgive! O Lord, Hear and Act! For Your Sake, O My God…”.
Designated by the United States Congress, people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day, with historical origins going back to a mandate by President George Washington.
First Call of Prayer in 1775
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.